Hi Blog. Martin Oickle was kind enough to send me one page of a housing/apartment catalog from “Heartful Fukushima Ten”–an Osaka realtor (Fukushima 7-5-1, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, KK Kansai Kensetsu Fukushima Ten, Ph 06-6455-7101).
It has a system for refusing foreigners that is so clear it’s even got a special snappy logo:
very kindly abbreviated to “‘gaijin’ are allowed” for your handy-dandy reference. Cute.
Here’s the original page in its entirety, from page nine of its catalog:
(click on the image to see a very detailed 300 dpi scan close up)
You’ll notice the very clever logos at the bottom, for “Auto Lock”, “Satellite TV”, “Students Allowed”, “Pianos Allowed”, “Children Allowed”, “Sink for Shampooing”, “Pets Allowed”, “Toilet and Bath Unit Separate”, “Shower Included”, “Flooring”, “Piped in Radio”, “Specially for Women”, “Hot Water Pot Included”, “Staff Constantly On Duty”, “Cable TV”, “Parking Allowed”, “Handicapped Access”, “Contract with Legal Entity”, “Air Conditioning”, “Elevator”, “Rentable in Portions”, “Furnished”, “Phone Included”, “Refrigerator Included”, and finally… “Foreigners Allowed”.
(click below to see whole image in your browser)
Thanks for making it so clear, I guess. Very Heartful. You’ll also notice that there is only one apartment of the twelve on this page which will deign to take “gaijin”:
And it’s nearly the cheapest and quite possibly the crappiest one on the entire page–only a one-room (1R). Now what a coincidence…
Now some quick counterarguments for the pedants, for what they’re worth:
Yes, there are restrictions on other things, such as pianos, but pianos and other material effects are not people. Same with pets, of course.
Yes, there are restrictions on students and children. But one does not remain a student or a child all their life, so it’s not the same as discrimination by nationality. (And for the record, I do not support “Women Only” apartments by the same logic. In any case, the default mode for apartments is accepting women, whereas the default for “gaijin” is rejection.)
What a lovely way to welcome newcomers who have enough hurdles to jump over in this society, without having the most fundamental thing they need in their life–a place to rest their head every day–denied them when they first arrive or need to move. Moreover relegate them to lousy housing regardless of income.
And the fact that this company is bold enough to make exclusionism so explicit (the realtor will no doubt counterargue that this is done by the landlord’s wishes; they’re just following orders) makes them an accessory to the discrimination in black and white.
Debito.org wishes to discourage this type of systematic discrimination in any way possible. I have put this company on the “Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments”.
Suggest you take your business elsewhere if you’re looking for apartments in Fukushima-ku, Osaka. Someplace less tolerant of intolerance.
Like some of these places, mentioned in a Japan Times article of November 10, 2007, blogged here.
Pertinent references from the article:
The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry launched the Web site Anshin Chintai (safe rental housing) in June to provide rental housing information and lists of real estate agents and NPOs that can support foreign apartment-seekers. So far, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Miyagi prefectures and Kawasaki have joined the project. For example, 237 real estate agents in Tokyo are listed as supportive firms.
The site — www.anshin-chintai.jp — is available in Japanese only, but foreigners who have difficulties with the language can ask local governments to explain the information on the site to them, according to the ministry.
The Japan Property Management Association, involving about 1,000 real estate agencies, also launched the Web site Welcome Chintai — www.jpm.jp/welcome/ — in September to introduce rental properties in six languages — Chinese, English, Korean, Mongolian, Spanish and Russian.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
21 comments on “Rogues’ Gallery: Kansai Kensetsu Inc., a “No Foreigners” realtor in Osaka–according to its catalog”
Hello there all!
I agree in full with what you say, however it is the actual owner of the building who will have stated this. The Real Estate agent could of course refuse to accept such a blatent discriminatory measure, but with only 1 in 12 of the apartments available to us, they would have little to offer. So boycott them. Use one of the Foreigner friendly Real Estate agents.
Also a domino effect from the NOVA problem. Thanks to the wingeing bunny on TV, snivelling into a tissue as she says she cant pay the rent…..there will be even fewer places offering apartments to us. Great dear, make it even harder for the rest of us who will still be here when you have paid off your student loan and gone home.
If you want to make an issue out of this, you can contact the licensor of the realtor, and ask him to issue government instruction or to suspend the license, pursuant article 65 paragraph 1 item 2 and paragraph 2 item 5 of Law on Traders of Land and Buildings.
The law says if a realtor has done a conduct that is harmful to the fairness of the trade in the business, or if it is highly probable that the realtor is harmful to the fairness of the trade in business, the licensor can issue necessary government instructions. If the realtor has conducted unlawfully or grossly inappropriately in the business, the licensor can suspend the license.
Look at the license number. 大阪府知事免許(9)14258
The licensor is the governor of Osaka Prefecture, to whom you can write.
–WOW, THANKS VERY MUCH FOR THIS. DEBITO
This is nothing new Debito-san. I got rejected in many, many places around Tokyo when looking for a home. Sometimes the fudosan outright rejected me, sometimes it was the owner. I even saw one of those appartment anouncements that said “水商売、ペット、外国人可”. While I believe the owner should be able to receive anybody it wants, the fudosan should serve everybody the same, regardless the nationality. There should be some law to protect foreigners from this, which is in my opinion the biggest abuse I have faced while here.
I found Osaka prefecture has these “Guidelines on human right issues for realtors in Osaka Prefecture”, though they are only codes of ethics and are not legally binding. (Only in Japanese language)
Of interest is 3(1)-3.
anyone else find it just a little MORE irritating that foreigners are not allowed into apartments that advertise “洋室” or WESTERN ROOMS?!?!? seems that if they want to discriminate against “westerners” (and everything is west of Japan if Japan is on the far east) they shouldnt be advertising our styles at the same they are denying entry to us. what do you wanna bet they have western toilets as well? the room diagrams that have icons for toilets look western to me.
i know these are smaller points, but it is like a sturdy twist after the knife is inserted….. i felt the same when the Gaijn Hanzai mag used kakatanaized english words like ファイル instead of proper Japanese words like 書類… if you are going to discriminate, shouldnt you want to refrain from embracing the language of those you are discriminating against?
not like we need more proof that people that racially discriminate are idiots, but it just adds further insult to the injury. such is the logic of the racist….. sigh…
Great, another opportunity for “外人” to gain another foothold. As if the discrimination in the rental housing system isn’t bad enough (from agents who laugh at prospective renters to neighbours telling the landlord they don’t want any of those scary foreign types next door), we now have it on rental profiles.
Maybe other businesses could follow suit with signs announcing “Japs only”… oh, that’s racist…
I think Meatleg makes a key point. I’ve been thinking about that for a while. It’s difficult to explain to Japanese that to embrace foreign THINGS but reject foreign PEOPLE is despicable and wrong. And this is from a country that pushes so hard for “world peace.” World peace, all right. Just don’t come to Japan and expect equal treatment.
Whilst I cannot disagree with the repugnance of such xenophobia, being here for as long as I have, I begin to examine apparently ‘open’ or ‘blatant’ acts of racism, not by looking at this, the cause, but rather the effect. What drives apparently reasonable people to this kind of discrimination? Of course, the easy answer is that the landlord is simply exercising their right (don’t confuse that word with the legal word of the same spelling). As the owner and person responsible for safeguarding their costly investment, they have to make business decisions, it’s not an emotional issue.
When I was looking for an apartment fairly recently the Japanese estate-agent (Able) was great and their helpful staff did their best to persuade landlords to accept a non-Japanese, and whilst this frustrated me at first, because I was doing this by myself in Jappanese, the more and more I got talking to various Japanese agents (in their language) the more and more I began to see the trail of mayhem, destruction and misery left behind by innumerable inconsiderate 外人 (not 外国人). Outsiders who don’t live by the social codes and constructs of a densely populated island like Japan, but rather behave as if they are living on Mars. From personal experience I can concur too, that in my last building of twelve apartments, the only problems which ever arose, were caused by the one Chinese family (who, ironically had spent nearly all their lives in Japan). Indeed a NZ friend whose Japanese spouse’s parents own an apartment building, conveyed the very same sentiment. The only problems she ever has with any of the twenty or so tenants are with the 外人 ones! and those are mostly JET ALTs (need I say more?!) she constantly has to ask them to turn down music and correct other very infantile behaviour. Judging by the lack of understanding about Japanese cultural constructs and the appalling lack of Japanese language skills that the average ‘foreigner’ possesses, if I were a landlord, I too wouldn’t rent to a non-Japanese either!
You know, before the ‘foreign community’ jump on their high-horse and start procrastinating, they might just take a moment and look at their own conduct and behaviour and that of other non-Japanese around them. If they did that they might well find a lot more answers to the apparently inexplicable problems many of us face. I mean, who has never met a 外人 who was planning to not pay their phone bill or City Tax, before skipping out and going ‘home’? Surely everyone has met such an irresponsible half-wit, hence no wonder that for non-Japanese people, it can often be hard to get a mobile phone, or the trust of the Japanese. Of course to look in the mirror and admit that maybe, just maybe YOU are part of the problem is not an easy solution, but rather a little soul-searching than this eternal state of denial.
I AM ONLY APPROVING THIS MESSAGE BECAUSE IT IS A STUDY OF HOW SOMEONE (AN ODD COMBINATION OF LONG-TERM FOREIGN RESIDENT, APARTMENT BUILDER, YET SEARCHER OF APARTMENTS–WHO WOULD ULTIMATELY DENY ONE TO HIMSELF. YEP, HI GREG!) CAN TAKE THE SAME DATA (OR RATHER, IN THIS CASE, CHERRY-PICKED DATA) AND COME OUT WITH THE WRONG CONCLUSION.
THE WRITER NOT ONLY CONFUSES CAUSE AND EFFECT (MOREOVER SEES THE MAJORITY OF NJ, HIMSELF CONVENIENTLY EXCEPTED OF COURSE, AS LINGUISTICALLY OR CULTURALLY INCAPABLE; WRONG), HE IS GUILTY OF SEEING CONDUCT AS A PRODUCT OF NATIONALITY, NOT AS THE BEHAVIOR OF INDIVIDUALS MAKING CHOICES, GOOD OR BAD, REGARDLESS OF BACKGROUND. AND IN THE END WINDS UP JUSTIFYING RACISM.
THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE VICTIM (PEOPLE BEING REFUSED THE FRUITS OF SOCIETY SIMPLY FOR HAVING A CERTAIN ETHNIC, IF NOT GENETIC, BACKGROUND) IS GUILTY OF THE SAME SINS (REAL OR IMAGINED–GENERALLY IMAGINED) OF SIMILAR-LOOKING PEOPLE IS IDIOCY, NO MATTER HOW FULSOMELY ONE TRIES TO ARGUE IN DEFENSE OF IT.
IN ANY CASE, I SUGGEST PEOPLE NOT BOTHER TO FEED THE TROLL (IP 126.96.36.199) WITH AN ANSWER TO THIS. JUST STUDY THIS MINDSET AND UNDERSTAND THAT AT BEST THIS IS WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST. RACISM CAN BE A VISCERAL GUT REACTION TO SOMETHING–OR IT CAN EVEN BE A CAREFULLY-ARGUED SET OF SOPHISTRY. BUT IT STILL AMOUNTS TO THE SAME THING–DENIALS OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PROPERTY DUE TO INDELIBLE STATUSES ASSIGNED FROM BIRTH.
THESE SORTS OF THINGS ARE ILLEGAL IN MOST DEVELOPED SOCIETIES (NOT JAPAN, HOWEVER) AND BANNED UNDER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES GOVERNING HUMAN RIGHTS. FOR GOOD REASON–INEVITABLY, AS HISTORY SHOWS AGAIN AND AGAIN, THEY DESTROY LIVES AND UNDERMINE ENTIRE SOCIETIES. TROLLS LIKE THIS WRITER WILL NEVER GET IT. AND WILL ODDLY JUSTIFY DECREASING THEIR OWN STANDARD OF LIVING. ARUDOU DEBITO
To Guruji I’d like to ask if this were in the USA or Europe would they still still defend the right of the owner to not rent to foreigners? If not, then if its racist in the west then why is not racist anywhere else? Obviously when Japan is wanting a more relevant role in the world: ie, UN Security Council, signer of many huamn rights agreements; then Japan must adhere to the rights it expects of their citizens in other countries.
That really is the point, Japanese people expect the same rights of native citizens where they go, but deny rights to non-Japanese (the correct term by the way, NOT foreigner)is not only hypocritical but illegal under the very human rights documents they have signed since 1952.
I have a question about Fair Housing Act of US.
The law does not mention “citizenship”. Is it OK to descriminate because of citizenship when renting a house? Or is citizenship included in “national origin”?
Come on, don’t make a scapegoat out of the agency. As rasist as it is, it’s not the agency making this policy of not accepting foreigners, it’s landlords. And it’s the same pretty much whatever agency you go–you choose an apartment, agency contacts landlord, and he/she says “No gaijins in my apartment”. And I’m sure the agency only wanted to make things easier for their foreign customers. Of course the catalog smells very bad, of course it’s blatant discrimination (and of course I’m in no way advocating it), but even if the agency will remove those marks, nothing would change–landlords would still refuse foreingers, wouldn’t they?
–YES, BUT REALTORS ACQUIESCING TO THIS DEGREE SETS A VERY BAD PRECEDENT. IT’S LIKE ANY ESTABLISHMENT PUTTING UP “JAPANESE ONLY” SIGNS AND SAYING, “IT’S NOT OUR FAULT. THIS IS WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS WANT–THEY DON’T LIKE FOREIGNERS!” (WHICH, BTW, THEY DO SAY.) TO BE SURE, IN THE REALTORS’ CASE, IT’S CLEARER THEY HAVE LESS CONTROL. BUT PUTTING UP SIGNS LIKE THIS IN ANY CASE ENCOURAGES INDUSTRY-WIDE COPYCATTING, AS IT MAKES PUBLICLY CLEAR THAT REFUSING GAIJIN IS JUST A-OK. WE CAN’T HAVE THAT. SO THE REALTOR WILL HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILILTY FOR ITS ACTIONS. DEBITO
According to the National Fair Housing Advocacy Center…
It is unlawful to screen housing applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. In the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, landlords and property managers have inquired about the legality of screening housing applicants on the basis of their citizenship status. The Act does not prohibit discrimination based solely on a person’s citizenship status. Accordingly, asking housing applicants to provide documentation of their citizenship or immigration status during the screening process would not violate the Fair Housing Act. In fact, such measures have been in place for a number of years in screening applicants for federally-assisted housing. For these properties, HUD regulations define what kind of documents are considered acceptable evidence of citizenship or eligible immigration status and outline the process for collecting and verifying such documents.* These procedures are uniformly applied to every applicant. Landlords who are considering implementing similar measures must make sure they are carried out in a nondiscriminatory fashion.
Example 1: A person from the Middle East who is in the United States applies for an apartment. Because the person is from the Middle East, the landlord requires the person to provide additional information and forms of identification, and refuses to rent the apartment to him. Later, a person from Europe who is in the United States applies for an apartment at the same complex. Because the person is from Europe, the landlord does not have him complete additional paperwork, does not verify the information on the application, and rents the apartment. This is disparate treatment on the basis of national origin.
Example 2: A person who is applying for an apartment mentions in the interview that he left his native country to come study in the United States. The landlord, concerned that the student’s visa may expire during tenancy, asks the student for documentation to determine how long he is legally allowed to be in the United States. If the landlord requests this information, regardless of the applicant’s race or specific national origin, the landlord has not violated the Fair Housing Act.
This is a Federal Act, so in addition to this various states have their own laws that extend the rights and obligations of people. For example, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, has been interpreted by the courts to prohibit arbitrary discrimination by business establishments on any basis other than economic status such as level of income.
TJJ. Thank you.
So, cut things short, National Fair Housing Advocacy Center says,
“The Act does not prohibit discrimination based solely on a person’s citizenship status.”
I found the same sentence in a HP of federal agency.
Similarly, US EEOC has this to say about job discrimination.
“While Title VII does not prohibit citizenship discrimination per se, citizenship discrimination does violate Title VII where it has the “purpose or effect” of discriminating on the basis of national origin.”
So strictly speaking, discrimination based only on citizenship is not prohibited by civil right laws in US. Since reciprocity applies in this field, US government itself may undermine the argument by US citizens in Japan.
Ah yes, I remember well the “petto, mizushoubai, gaijin fuka” signs. I first recall seeing the “Gaijin OK” signs way back when ApaMan first came out; they were slightly more “polite” ways of saying that gaijins were probably not OK everywhere else. And, of course, hearing a few dozen “gaijin wa dame!” exclamations every day as I looked for apartments. Back in the countryside in Toyama, in the mid-80’s, they were slightly less slick about it–every real estate agent in the city showed me the same three apartments, claiming that they were the only ones available in the whole city; when I challenged them on such a preposterous claim, they said that other apartments were open, but the buildings all had yakuza and mizushobai and so they could not in good conscience show them to me.
It still goes on, of course, though probably at a slightly lower level than it did back in the 80’s. Still, I just got too tired of all that BS.
For the past eight years, I have rented through Kodan, now dubbed “UR” in Kanto. They are public housing, and so they automatically accept foreigners into all units, without hesitation or question. They also have no gift money or agent’s commission, which is very nice–just three months’ refundable deposit, which they were pretty reasonable about when I left my previous place with them. My rent in my old place even decreased every year, because rent calculations were based upon land prices. Cool.
Just to give the realtor the benefit of the doubt, does explicitly allowing foreigners in one apartment necessarily mean foreigners are excluded from the others? (Although, I would agree that that’s implied.) Perhaps they’re using an unfortunate shorthand to show that that one landlord is particularly welcoming to foreigners or doesn’t get scared off by foreign accents or poor Japanese ability.
As for me, if I were a landlord, I’d refuse to rent to foreigners as a publicity stunt – I’d get on the blacklist here, then make a very public apology, change my ways and get on the greenlist. Maybe I’d even get into a dispute with myself.
I kind of feel sorry for the powers that be in Japan. The country punches well below its weight, even economically, desperately wants to become a regional financial hub and reap the rewards of globalization, but is run by people who honestly cannot see their own xenophobia and racism, much less understand why anyone would be offended by it.
–ALL POINTS ACKNOWLEDGED, THANKS.
RE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT FOR THE REALTOR: WHEN I TRIED TO SELL THIS STORY TO A REPORTER FRIEND, HE MADE THE SAME ARGUMENT–THAT JUST BECAUSE THE SYMBOL INDICATES “OKAY” DOESN’T NECESSARILY INDICATE THAT THE LACK OF A SYMBOL WOULD MEAN “NOT OKAY”. SO WE’D HAVE TO CALL ALL PLACES WITHOUT THE SYMBOL TO CONFIRM THAT NJ ARE NOT OKAY. THAT’S WHY HE DIDN’T TAKE THE STORY UP.
BUT THAT’S LUDICROUS. IF A SYMBOL SAYS “REFRIGERATOR PROVIDED”, DOES THAT MEAN WE HAVE TO CONFIRM WITH EVERY PLACE THAT DOESN’T HAVE THAT SYMBOL THAT THE APARTMENT DOESN’T HAVE A REFRIGERATOR? THAT MAKES THE SYMBOL SYSTEM MEANINGLESS. NO, THE LACK OF A SYMBOL MEANS THE LACK OF AMENITY, SIMPLE AS THAT. WHICH MEANS THAT ACCEPTING NJ RENTERS IS NOT SOMETHING PROVIDED AS A DEFAULT AMENITY (LIKE ELECTRICITY, RUNNING WATER, OR FLUSH TOILETS). REFUSING IS THE DEFAULT.
I SAY, NO NEED TO GIVE THE REALTOR ANY BENEFITS OF THE DOUBT. THE SYMBOLS ARE PROVIDED PRECISELY TO REMOVE THAT DOUBT. DEBITO
I don’t think that’s exactly right, although I am not au fait with laws on reciprocity, I am pretty sure that in the US a blanket refusal of all “foreigners” would be considered discrimination by national origin.
Coming from a country where it is illegal to discriminate against foreigners (Australia), I have found the level of systematic racism in Japan not just unacceptable, but also unbelievable that most Japanese don’t perceive these actions as racist.
Whether the origin of housing discrimination is from the landlord or realtor should be irrelevant. The underlying problem is the perception that, for whatever reason, it is OK to discriminate against foreigners. Why does ownership of a property give a person that right? Or give realtor the right to support this racism?
It concerns me that some of the replies here are even making excuses for the owners or realtors! Or worse still, they are demonstrating their own racist beliefs by specious reasoning (i.e. Guriji’s post). The bottom line is, in this modern age, racism, sexism, etc. is wrong no matter who you are, or what you own.
Ok, I know that this is quite an old article, but I am tempted to say a thing or two because the reason I got into this page was because I searched for “racist japanese realtor.” The reason? I just had my piece of experience being discriminated against YESTERDAY here in TOKYO. The realtor’s called HEYAGIME (www.heyagime.com) and the agent in action was called Akifumi Waki (和気章文). The reason why I remembered his name was because I forgot to burn the business card he gave me when I met him in the office. I looked Japanese and so perhaps he was startled when he realized I did not speak Japanese very well as I, few times, gave the wrong answer (not all the time though). His demeanor then changed … he was asking me all these personal details about where I work. I did give him the answer. He then frowned, saying that it is impossible to work in Japan without knowing Japanese, and for those who don’t know Japanese, they usually have expat package covered by their companies. From the way he looked at me, this little prick might think that I was lying and that I’m here illegally or unemployed or something. I should’ve brought my employment papers that time and showed it to his face. Then he began to tell me that there are monthly apartments, so that if I cannot pay the next month, I have the option to leave by the end of the month. Now this prick thinks I don’t have MONEY while in reality in earn probably 5times higher than himself. On top, he kept making fun of me to his coworkers and thought that I didn’t understand what he was saying. But just by the rudeness, smirks, glances, and impatience, I did not even need to understand what he was saying. This dude was basically saying that “I have no time for this baka gaijin. Why can’t see just understand that we can’t help her?” I was so offended, I began speaking with an attitude. No longer able to hold my anger, I got up gave him the sharp look and left (and I could hear him and his coworkers laughing at the back).
This reminds me of my boss in my previous employment. When he drinks a lot he began to say weird things like, “I don’t like Koreans and Chinese! They are taking over our country! Why can’t they just GO BACK to their own countries!” Well, I’m an American, Chinese-American, how’d that made you feel when you heard that remark. The irony is that he EMPLOYED ME (well, one of the guys who interviewed me). I just disliked him ever since. Japan is perhaps worse than Australia, which in fact, had a white-supremacist party (they reject Asians who they believe are taking over the country) led by Pauline Hanson. Racism is clear and it is intolerable.
Instead of banning ALL gaijins from their apartments, Japanese landlords should enforce the following (I should charge them consultation fee for this): 1) Anybody who caused disturbance in the community (whether it is Japanese or foreigner) should be reported to the Authorities. Charging them with hefty fines at the police station would work. Evict them when they do that repeatedly + no deposit returns. If possible increase deposit to scare people off. 2) They or the CITY OFFICE should create a brief apartment manual about Japanese irrational social rules and conducts for foreigners that must be obeyed, example: taking out the TRASH on certain dates depending where you live (my current apartment only allows Monday and Sunday mornings – yes, mornings) and that burnable items (paper, etc) and unburnable (plastic, etc) should be separated. They extremely HATE you if they caught you throwing the garbage into the public disposal on other time. But no, they will not show it then. 3) Credit card number is IMPORTANT for landlords so they can definitely charge the amount owed by whomever at the certain date… 4) Copy all passports, alien registrations, visas, work/school documents so that they can report those who skip town without paying to the Authorities/Employer/School and ban them from ever coming back to Japan. 4) They should focus on ONE THING when they are talking to gaijins about renting the apartments: GUARANTOR. Nothing else. Although finding a guarantor won’t be easy since most Japanese would NOT help you in that part, especially when you are not related to them (from experience); there are plenty expensive Guarantor agencies that can help. But at least, there is a clear answer. GAIJIN with GUARANTOR –OK, GAIJIN with no GUARANTOR – NO DEAL! End of story. Save the time. Save the racist attitude. Save the friendship.
i have lived in both tokyo aand osaka, and i have found out that the housing situation is much worse in osaka for foreignors trying to find a place to live…see in osaka there is many companys such as MINI-MINI, and APAMAN that refuse to rent to foreignors..i was rejected when i went to these two places when the office staff called the building owner and simply asked them if they would went to a gaijin and they both said NO, no reason ever given why!. discrimination at its finest
There are indeed a few and good foreigner friendly realtors in Osaka and Kobe.
I’ve been living in Osaka for the past decade so since there aren’t many I pretty much tried them all. I did not try those Japanese companies that have a Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipino lonely gaijin working for them to get focused on getting foreign students as customers.
I know a handful foreign agents, the best being Luis and Holy at RE/MAX http://www.qurie.jp, Fraser from Apartment Osaka, Rikka from CoreEight (Kobe). There’s the gaijin apartment helper, but honestly I didn’t like having to pay upfront not knowing whether he could actually find me a place or not, and a few more that I would not recommend at all.